“We started working with Zac de Silva three years ago. We were just outside of start-up mode, Covid had just hit, and we decided it was time to take on an external mentor,” says Cliff Hopkins, who co-founded fashion retailer, Shine On, along with his sister Fiona and her husband Gene. “Working closely with Zac has empowered us to take our business to new heights and overcome challenges along the way.”
One of the main reasons the Shine On owners wanted to find a business coach was to give them some accountability.
“In a family business, it’s easy to become complacent without someone pushing you forward so we wanted to find someone to hold us accountable,” says Cliff. “Instead of bringing in a senior business partner, we thought we’d engage a business coach instead. Having an external person is also helpful for those discussions that aren’t easy. It’s good to have a neutral party to listen to things and propose ideas and Zac is great at that.”
Zac’s genuine interest in businesses and his extensive knowledge of both business and fashion retail have been helpful to Cliff and Fiona as they’ve built up their business.
“In business, you don’t know what you don’t know,” says Fiona. “Having someone with extensive business knowledge we could turn to was vital, and Zac’s expertise in fashion made him the perfect choice. One thing I’ve really appreciated is having him check in consistently on our financials — he’s so in tune with our financial position and he’s saved us a lot of money by picking up on things before we noticed them. He has this amazing ability to see the wastage in this business, which really helps the bottom line.”
“Zac’s pretty knowledgeable about all aspects of a business and knows a lot of people,” adds Cliff. “He has good contacts that he shares and connects us with. Whether it’s recruitment, stock predictions, or finding someone with similar business experience, Zac has been instrumental in expanding our network.”
Shine On’s growth and transformation under Zac’s mentorship have been remarkable.
“It’s grown a lot,” says Cliff. “We started with two shops, and now we have four, soon to be five. Our team has grown significantly, from 50 to now reaching 120. Zac was really helpful with this phase, particularly around senior staff hires and how to structure the organisation chart and renumeration and bonus scheme.”
“Our abilities to manage people, look after our team, and develop a strong culture improved significantly under Zac’s mentorship,” Fiona says. “He was instrumental in the development of Shine On branding and training our staff on the importance of our ‘why’ — his guidance here helped us create a culture that resonates with our staff and our customers and separates us from other brands.”
When asked about their experience working with Zac, both Cliff and Fiona are effusive in their praise.
“We’ve found him to be really personable and genuinely interested in business,” Cliff says. “He really loves business, and it shows. Particularly for middle-range businesses that show potential, Zac is the best partner. He’s reliable, and his workshops are great for networking and making friends in business.”
“Zac has a unique personality that helps you achieve your life and business goals,” Fiona adds. “He understands what makes a quality life and a quality business. He helps you juggle the two and realize that one isn’t more important than the other. We love Zac, and he’s been fabulous to work with.”